Ankle Sprains & The Hidden Cause

by | Jun 1, 2024 | 0 comments

Ankle sprains and the hidden cause

Ankle sprains can quickly ruin a trip and there’s one hidden cause that can increase your risk of injury. Limited ankle dorsiflexion has been shown to increase the risk of ankle sprains. In this post, we’ll discuss this missing link, how you can check your dorsiflexion at home, and resources to improve your dorsiflexion.

Dorsiflexion is the measurement from the top of your foot to the lower leg bone, and if it is limited, it could increase your risk of injury and ankle sprains. The dorsiflexion test is simple and requires a tape measure. All you need to do is lay the tape measure out on the floor, square yourself up to the wall, and glide your knee toward the wall while keeping your heel down.

Your measurement and risk of ankle sprains

We’re looking for the measurement from the end of your big toe to the wall. The measurement you get will correlate to a specific degree of ankle range of motion. Normal ankle range of motion falls between 40 and 45 degrees, so four and a half to 5 in measurement from the end of the foot to the wall.

5 inches = 45 degrees
4.5 inches = 41 degrees
4 inches = 36 degrees
3.5 inches = 31 degrees
3 inches = 27 degrees
2.5 inches = 22 degrees
2 inches = 18 degrees
1.5 inches = 13 degrees
1 inch = 9 degrees

If you hit 40 degrees, that’s a good passing score, and your range of motion is good. However, if your ankle range of motion falls below 34 degrees, your risk of ankle sprains can increase fivefold. According to physical therapist Phil Plisky, if your ankle range of motion has an asymmetry of more than 5 degrees per side, your risk of injury also increases. If your ankle range of motion falls below average, or you’ve got an asymmetry, tightness in the calf or groin might limit your range of motion. You might also have an issue with the ankle joint limiting that full dorsiflexion range of motion.

Need to improve your dorsiflexion?

So, what can you do if you’re experiencing issues with dorsiflexion? The easiest thing to do is to see a physical therapist. They can assess you and see what may be going on. If you cannot see a physical therapist, look for ankle dorsiflexion fixes online. Many are available, but it’s essential to find a qualified source. Dr. Aaron Horschig of Squat University and Dr. Kelly Starrett of The Ready State are both physical therapists who have a lot of information on improving ankle range of motion, depending on what may be happening for you.

In conclusion, limited dorsiflexion can increase your risk of injury and ankle sprains. If you’re experiencing issues with dorsiflexion, it’s essential to address it and improve your range of motion. Seeing a physical therapist is the easiest option. Still, if that’s not feasible, you can look for ankle dorsiflexion fixes online from qualified sources like Dr. Aaron Horschig and Dr. Kelly Starrett.

author avatar
Lee Welton Owner
Lee has been helping hikers feel strong and confident so they can enjoy their adventures, not endure them since 2017. He's hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, scaled Mount Rainier, and hiked through the Dolomites in Italy.